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New Poll: Employers Value Skills & Knowledge Over Institutional Prestige

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

mapToday Gallup and the Lumina Foundation presented the findings of two polls gauging employer and the public’s perceptions of America’s higher education system. The results, presented this morning at Gallup’s D.C. headquarters, found that a vast majority of employers value occupationally relevant skills, technical competencies, and knowledge gained through a postsecondary education much more than where a student went to school or what their major was. In fact, only 9 percent of employers reported that a job candidate’s alma mater was “very important” for their hiring purposes and a mere 28 percent reported that a candidate’s major was a “very important” factor in their hiring decision. Tellingly, 84 percent of employers said that the amount of knowledge the candidate has in a particular field was “very important” and 79 percent responded to the poll saying that applied skills were of the same value.

Overall the two polls, conducted in late 2013, provide five main insights:

These results have come as a surprise to many. A panel discussion followed the release of these findings which provided a forum for how best to redesign America’s higher education system to respond to these findings. Among the many proposals offered, greater employer engagement and an increased role for community colleges emerged as two important pieces to solving what Gallup has now termed the “work preparation paradox.” Panelists argued that community colleges are an underutilized bridge between colleges, high schools and the world of work and should be used more to promote access to other forms of postsecondary education outside of a traditional four-year degree.  Other recommendations for better employer engagement included providing more experiential learning opportunities to students and also increasing the role employers have in faculty professional development.

The full survey with further analysis from Gallup and the Lumina Foundation can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

By Steve Voytek in News, Public Policy
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CTE Research Review

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013In case you missed it….

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002): A First Look at 2002 High School Sophomores 10 Years Later,  a report  literally ten years in the making. The ELS:2002 followed a cohort of sophomores over the last decade, out of high school and into their next steps. The report has some fascinating findings, largely around post-high school outcomes. A third of students earned a bachelor’s degree or higher (33 percent), 9 percent earned an associate’s degree, 10 percent a postsecondary certificate, and another third (32 percent) had or were still enrolled in postsecondary without having earned a credential. The remaining students either only had a high school diploma or equivalent (13 percent) or less (3 percent).

What’s truly striking is the impact of enrolling immediately in postsecondary education had on completion: among those who began their postsecondary education within 3 months of graduating, 53 percent had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher by 2012. Comparatively, among those who began their postsecondary education 13 or more months after graduating, only 7 percent had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, although students did become more likely to earn a certificate or accrue postecondary credits without a degree or certificate.

Another, not-very-surprising, but disheartening piece of data from the report is the attainment gap between income-levels. Over 70 percent of students from the highest income quartile had a postsecondary certificate or more by 2012 compared to just 35.5 percent of students from the lowest income quartile.

Finally, the report reinforces the concern over high unemployment for young adults – as well as the notion that education and training beyond high school is critical for career success. While about 18 percent of 26-year olds are unemployed or out-of-the labor force, this figure jumps to 37 percent for individuals with less than a high school diploma and 24 percent for high school graduates, compared to 11 percent for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 14.6 percent for those with an associate’s degree and 18 percent for those with a postsecondary certificate. For this cohort, more education does equate to greater job stability.

This report offers a wealth of self-reported data on job conditions and benefits, debt and aspirations and is well worth a read.

MDRC released Beyond the GED: Promising Models for Moving High School Dropouts to College  this month, a review of research-based strategies for increasingly GED test-taking and success for the millions of Americans without a high school diploma. Specifically, the report focuses on three types of reforms: (1) efforts to increase the rigor of adult education instruction and the standards for achieving a credential; (2) GED-to-college “bridge” programs, which integrate academic preparation with increased supports for students’ transition to college; and (3) interventions that allow students to enroll in college while studying to earn a high school credential. Indiana and Washington are two states highlighted for their comprehensive approaches to adult education and training.

Finally, Education Commission of States has a new brief - Career/Technical Education, Not Your Father’s Vocational Education – which explores  some state approaches to increasing career readiness, including offering CTE endorsements, tying scholarships to career assessments, building career readiness into accountability systems,  integrating academics and CTE content, and increasing dual enrollment. However, much of the discussion around scholarships, endorsements and accountability is limited to the use of WorkKeys, which only measures a slice of a students’ career readiness.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

 

By Kate Blosveren in Research
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Call for Presentations NOW OPEN for Achieving Excellence in Career Technical Education: The National Career Clusters Institute

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

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The Call for Presentations is NOW OPEN for Achieving Excellence in Career Technical Education: The National Career Clusters® Institute.

We are looking for sessions that feature high-quality programs of study, with proven track records of success; offer strategies for successful collaboration, implementation and innovation at the classroom, district or system level; and/or provide opportunities for participants to engage in interactive and hands-on learning activities.

MORE DETAILS
Proposal Deadlines
Proposals will be accepted through February 21, 2014. Speakers will be notified of status early March, 2014.
Submit your proposal now!
Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Career Clusters®, Meetings and Events, National Career Clusters Institute, News
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CTE Research Review

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Research Image_6.2013

Welcome to the final CTE Research Review of 2013! Below are some new and notable reports on issues impacting Career Technical Education.

The Education Commission of States (ECS) launched a 50-state database of dual/concurrent enrollment policies, including state reports, comparable data and links to specific legislation and regulations. The database includes information on access, finance, quality assurance and transferability. With about a third of all dual/concurrent credits earned by high school students in CTE disciplines, this is a key issue for CTE leaders and students.

The Afterschool Alliance released a new brief, Computing and Engineering in Afterschool, which explores why and how afterschool programs can help equip students with the skills they need to pursue engineering and computer science education and careers – and help fill gaps in traditional K-12 education. For more on STEM and the Afterschool Alliance, check out their STEM Impact Awards.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) has released two briefs in the last two months focusing on reforms in the higher education space: Meeting Students Where They Are: Profiles of Students in Competency-Based Degree Programs” and “A Path Forward: Game-Changing Reforms in Higher Education and the Implications for Business and Financing Models.” The first report explores various competency-based education models at the postsecondary level. In addition to laying out these models – from direct assessment to hybrid degrees – the brief also captures students’ perspectives and experiences earning degrees at their own pace and leveraging knowledge already gained in school and the workplace. It’s a compelling read and was discussed at a recent CAP event, which can be watched here.

The latter report focuses on some identified “game changers” for postsecondary education, notably stackable credentials, competency-based education and the Guided Pathways to Success model, laying out the benefits and the barriers that need to be removed to ensure more Americans have access to high-quality postsecondary learning, aligned with the demands of industry.

Finally, this week the National Center for Education Statistics released the annual Trial Urban District Assessment results, which was designed to explore how feasible it is to use the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) at the district level. For the 2013 administration, 21 districts participated. While a number of districts posted gains over previous years’ assessments, the results are by and large still very low across these urban districts, particularly for minority students. For a good (and honest) analysis of these results, check out Education Next.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren in Research, Uncategorized
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Resource Update: New Toolkits Now Available

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

This past week, two new toolkits became available to assist in the implementation of Career Technical Education planning efforts.

1. A new Planning for Students’ Successful Transition to Postsecondary Education and Employment Toolkit has been developed by members of the Career Pathways and Technical Education Task Force of the Minnesota Department of Education.

This  tool contains the following transition elements with accompanying strategies, example resources for implementations, and partnerships.

2. The Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Family Assistance recently released Career Pathways: Catalog of Toolkits, an online compendium of free resources available for use in planning a Career Pathways initiative. In an effort to better coordinate efforts by the Departments of Education, Labor, and HHS, the catalog seeks to serve as a directory for model Career Pathways programs and details strategies for implementation. Users are able to browse toolkits and filter results based on the indented audience, target population, career pathway element, industry, and publisher.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Resources
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CTE Research Review: OECD Report Examines Postsecondary CTE in the U.S.

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Research Image_6.2013A new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) examines strengths and challenges for postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) in the U.S.  The authors identified positive aspects including strong labor market returns on associate degrees and certificates, and the inclusiveness of U.S. postsecondary CTE. Broad recommendations were provided in three key areas – funding for quality, aligning credentials to industry needs, and strengthening transitions into and within postsecondary education and the labor market – and more specific recommendations included:

The U.S. Department of Education also released a background piece on postsecondary CTE that was used to inform the study.

NASDCTEc and the College Board recently partnered on a webinar and issue brief to show the relevance of Advanced Placement® (AP) courses and exams to CTE Programs of Study. The issue brief includes information on each Career Cluster® and potential AP courses and exams that could apply to each area. Students, parents, counselors and teachers may find this document especially useful to help CTE students follow programs of study that lead to college and career readiness and success.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

By Kara in News, Research, Resources
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On Track & Moving Forward: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Update

Friday, April 26th, 2013

On April 25, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) hosted a briefing in Washington, DC, on the progress of the 26-state consortium.

Smarter Balanced is one of the two Race to the Top-funded consortia of states working to develop K-12 assessment systems aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The assessments – in mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy – will be administered online and will provide students with an early signal of their readiness for college-level credit-bearing courses. The Smarter Balanced assessment system will include required summative assessments, optional interim assessments to be administered locally through each school year, and a series of formative tools and processes to be used at the classroom level.  The summative assessments will utilize computer-adaptive testing with the goal of providing greater precision and efficiency in measuring students’ proficiency on the Common Core State Standards.

Joe Willhoft, Executive Director of Smarter Balanced, provided an overview of the assessment system, including an update on the pilot test occurring right now in over 5,000 schools and reaching about 1 million students. Willhoft also shared newly released cost estimates that peg the cost per student to be approximately $22.50 for just the summative assessment, which is actually less than what about two-thirds of Smarter Balanced states currently spend on assessments. He noted that about 70 percent of the cost will go towards the (human) scoring of the performance-based items included in the assessment used to measure problem solving and deeper analytical skills.

Willhoft also discussed the option states and districts will have to use paper-and-pencil tests for the first three years of administration as a strategy of easing the transition to the computer-based assessments, noting that the results from the paper test will be comparable with the online assessments.

Jacqueline King, Director of Higher Education Collaboration for Smarter Balanced, spoke on the role higher education has been playing throughout the design and development process. Specifically, she pointed to the college content-readiness policy released last month that will facilitate the use of the high school assessments by institutions of higher education. Students who score a three or above on the high school summative assessment will have a portable score that can be used by colleges and universities to exempt them from remedial education and place them into credit-bearing courses. Looking ahead, Smarter Balanced will continue to engage with higher education to build awareness and support for the assessment system.

King also mentioned that Smarter Balanced would be exploring the idea of what the assessments mean insofar as students’ academic “career readiness” in coming months.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren in Public Policy
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CTE in the News: Georgia Lt. Gov. Urges Business, Industry, Education Leaders to Address Skills Gap

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Education that prepares students to compete for jobs in the global economy must be a top priority for business, industry and education leaders, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle warned a crowd of nearly 200 at the College and Career Academy Summit this week, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

“Each of us has the chance to shape what this economy and what this future for all of us is going to look like,” Cagle said Thursday. “It’s a huge responsibility… Quite honestly I don’t think there is anything, as a public policy maker, that is more important today than the education system in this state.”

The three-day event featured the theme “Business and Education Partnerships: Success in Action” and was hosted by Floyd County College and Career Academy and Georgia Northwestern Technical College. Leaders were scheduled to address workforce skills gaps in health care, technology, manufacturing and energy amidst a growing regional interest in the career academy movement.

According to Rome News-Tribune, Cagle said that significant economic opportunities have been rising in the U.S. because of events occurring in Asia and Europe, companies such as the manufacturing giant Caterpillar Inc. and Baxter, a pharmaceutical company, are bringing work opportunities to Georgia.

“What is interesting about those industries is that they are all located where there was a college and career academy,” Cagle said. “We’re leading the nation in workforce development because of … what we’re doing with our college and career academies.”

Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy have experienced a “powerful transformation” that has encouraged partnerships between secondary and postsecondary education, and the business community, according to a Floyd County Schools news release. On Friday, discussions were designed to focus on the enhancement and expansion of career academy development.

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

By Erin in Uncategorized
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CTE in the News: Successful, local programs highlighted in Nevada, Ohio

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

CTE programs have been a topic of interest among local news sources, which are highlighting innovative programs that have the potential to help area students compete for a job in this challenging economy. The articles illustrate the evolving profile of CTE among the general public, who are looking to CTE as a potential resource in empowering the future U.S. workforce.

In Nevada, industry professionals and organizations collaborated with Great Basin College, which has a reputation for fostering well-skilled students in the state, to create an education and training system that equips students with credentials that are portable nationally, according to Elko Daily Free Press.

Specifically, the college collaborated with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), an organization committed to building a safe, productive and sustainable workforce of craft professionals. According to Dean of Applied Sciences Bret Murphy, NCCER sets a curriculum standard that is recognized by industry nationwide, the article said.

Further, NCCER also convenes a Construction Users Round Table (CURT), an organization of construction company owners who help to ensure the curriculum reflects expectations of the industry nationwide.

Another example can be found in Ohio. The Washington High School community recently celebrated a decision by the Massillon City Schools Board of Education to approve an education agreement with Affinity Medical Center that allows CTE students in health-care studies to learn more about their chosen careers from medical experts, according to an IndeOnline article.

Students enrolled in the nursing, pharmacy, medical assistant and exercise science programs at the school will have access to on-site experience through observations and hands-on learning opportunities at Affinity Medical Center, the article noted.

“When you can take what you have learned and apply it to a real-life setting, it is just as valuable as anything you have learned,” Washington High Career and Technical Education Director Dan Murphy said. “The hands-on application is phenomenal.”

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager

By Erin in Uncategorized
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Report: “Indispensable” Role of Transfer for Community Colleges

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Recently, the nation’s education agenda has placed considerable focus on increasing college completion rates. While this worthy goal is critical to the country’s economic success, a new report implores the education community not to lose sight of other valuable functions of community colleges, namely transfer, as schools work toward graduating all students.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) released this month an issue brief on the “indispensable” role of transfer for community colleges and students. More than one-quarter of those who earn a bachelor’s degree began their college experience at a community college and transferred to a four-year institution along the way. Nearly half of bachelor’s degree recipients take at least one course at a community college.

Research shows that transfer from a community college to a four-year institution not only works, but also saves money. The AACC brief states that students who start at a community college and transfer to a four-year university are just as successful as those who begin at a four-year institution. For the nine institutions studied in this case, an estimated $22 billion were saved by students who first attended community college first and then transferred.

Part of what makes transfer work, the AACC brief shows, is that the receiving institution prioritizes the success of transfer students. Eighty-two percent of transfer students earn a bachelor’s degree on time when their receiving institution accepted all of the student’s community college credits. When colleges accept some community college credits, forty-two percent of transfer students earned a bachelor’s degree on time.

The AACC brief also takes into account questions to consider as post-completion measures and program effectiveness are evaluated, such as “Should an institution that provides just the last few credits before earning a degree be considered the institution of record for the student’s ultimate ‘success’?”

Click here to access the full report.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager 

By Kara in Public Policy, Resources
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